5 Things Preachers Should Stop Doing!

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This is a guest post by Mark Clark, Senior Pastor of Village Church.

I have the great opportunity to not only communicate as part of my job – as a preacher, writer, conference speaker, etc., – but actually help train up preachers and communicators in different settings (church ministry, marketplace leaders, etc.,)

Here are five things I tell them to stop doing!

1. Stop pretending

Authenticity is the new currency of leadership.

So stop pretending. Stop using THAT voice.

You know the one – the preacher voice. False vulnerability. False concern. False ups and downs. Just be you.

Talk and proclaim to people as a real person. Use biblical language certainly but not heightened Christianese that nobody understands – or trusts – anymore.

Be a real person. A bruised reed. A leader with a limp. Not the hero of the story.

Be a real person. A bruised reed. A leader with a limp. Not the hero of the story. - @markaclark Click To Tweet

2. Stop being content-weak

Be theologically informed. Call people to think and feel on a deeper level.

There is a huge amount of stuff out there that is saying nothing. Don’t copy that if you are an up-and-comer.

It will scare you into thinking you can’t give people heavy ideas without losing them. It’s not true. You can hold people, but you have to work hard at it.

You know what you do now? The hours you put into writing, reading, and forming that message? You likely have to work even harder than that. And you’ll have to illustrate those heavy concepts in real life for them to land and stick.

3. Stop being boring

The scholars on the blog you read daily may care how many footnotes you have in your sermon or what a good ecclesiological hermeneutic is but most people are trying to pay the bills, hold on to their marriage and understand why God allowed fill in the blank.

Don’t bore them. Inspire them.

Ask why five thousand people followed Jesus out to the middle of nowhere and listened to his vision for their life, and ask whether you could get even a dozen to do the same. If not, why not?

Being theological accurate and yet boring is a kind of sin.

It abandons the reality of the gospel and its effect on our real lives.

Being theological accurate and yet boring is a kind of sin. - @markaclark Click To Tweet

4. Stop wasting precious time

How many times are you sitting there waiting for the preacher to SAY SOMETHING?

Greeting. Intro. Announcements. The passage. What I’m going to say. What I said. Get on with it.

You only have a few minutes every week and eternity is in the balance.

Hi, I’m so and so, open your bibles, here’s what that means! Jesus. Repent. See you next week. Repeat.

5. Stop not trusting the Gospel

I know it sounds like something I should be saying but it’s just true.

The message about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, not just a message about God generically, really is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). The means by which God saves people. More so than your series brand, or marketing ideas.

You want to see people meet Jesus and be saved from sin, death and Hell. How?

He tells us. It isn’t by being forced through some legalistic burden – to read your sermon word for word like you’re giving a paper at a mining conference.

The letter of the law is dead, the spirit of the letter is what brings life.

Nor is it by jumping around, working people’s emotions, trying to control the energy in a room.

Such things create false disciples. Counterfeit conversions.

What’s more tragic than that?

Why bury the gospel under, well, everything else?

The gospel is where the power lies. To change lives. Every week. Without fail. Start doing that. I believe in you!

The gospel is where the power lies. To change lives. Every week. Without fail. - @markaclark Click To Tweet

You’ve Prepared Your Sermon. You’re Ready For Sunday. But Is It Any Good? Will It Land?

Here’s the problem... you only ever find out if your sermon didn't connect after you've already preached it.

So, what can you do when seminary didn't really prepare you to speak into the current reality of our culture or connect with a growing audience?

What will change that?

Option #1 - Years of trial-and-error (what I did).

Option #2 - Transform your preaching as early as this Sunday.

While there are aspects of preaching that are out of our control, certain skills that make a sermon engaging, memorable, and relevant can be learned and practiced.

That’s exactly why Mark Clark (Senior Pastor at Bayside Church) and I created The Art of Preaching. It's our comprehensive guide that will transform your preaching—from preparation to delivery .

The course covers the foundations of truly effective preaching:

  • Understanding what God has called you to do
  • How to ensure you’re doing exegesis (not eisegesis)
  • Changes you can make to your delivery and weekly process
  • And more…

But it goes WAY beyond that, too. We share our entire method that we use every single time we preach:

  • Specific reasons a sermon may not be effective
  • 5 easy steps you can take to ditch your notes for good
  • The step-by-step process to write a clear and memorable bottom line
  • How to find power in the text
  • And more…

It’s helped 2,500+ pastors preach more engaging and memorable sermons, and it can do the same for you.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.